[eDebate] Hester / Topic Area Discussion

Eric A Suni suniea
Mon Apr 10 21:59:40 CDT 2006


First, not to beat a dead horse, but the topic committee
proceedings are pretty damn open. Someone said they should post the
minutes--which was done last year. Someone also said to involve more of
the community--which was also done last year (on edebate, no less) and led
to helpful and important refinements of the resolutions on day 3.

Second, Hester brings up a valid point in the topic process of the
problems of
knowing what the eventual resolutions will be in each area of the topic
vote.

At last year's topic committee meeting, this was discussed and the
identified solution was better topic papers. It's hard to blame the
committee for being unable to meet the community's expectations when the
only guidance is "China" or "Indians". The point was that the
TOPIC PAPER should take a clear stance not just on some general topic
"area" but on the "direction of the topic" within that area. If
if that topic paper won the area vote, the committee would NOT change the
direction of the topic (eg, if the pressure on China paper won, the
committee couldn't write an engagement rez).

The goal of this is to really let the committee focus on wordings and
ground issues. If the committee has to spend over a day determining the
direction of the topic (as happened last year), it makes it increasingly
difficult to put together an acceptable list of resolutions.

That said, I think the paper that takes the clearest stance on this is
IPR--Clint
clearly says that the topic should be to *PROTECT* IPR. He also provides a
few rough wordings to give an idea of what that topic would look like. As
such, the way I understand it, if you vote for IPR, you are voting for a
rez to increase protection of IPR.

I don't think this is as clear in the courts paper. While the courts paper
is thorough and covers a lot, I think it leaves a lot up to the committee
to determine how the resolution gets written. I don't think that this
necessarily means people should vote against it, but just that it leaves a
lot more up to the discretion of the committee (for good or bad).

Ultimately, I don't think there's a lot that can be done on this issue
this year. Maybe people could start getting at questions of the
direction of the topic (eg, increase civil liberties OR expand powers
of law enforcement OR increase federalism etc.).

In the future, I think well-written and thought out topic papers can
solve a lot of this problem (as was planned for this year). But I think
that the timeframe for writing topic papers needs to be changed so that
they aren't due during the most intense period of nationals prep. This
also might allow topic papers to include more detailed potential
rez wordings, which would alleviate a lot of the concerns people have
expressed.

Eric





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